March 2, 2024

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Journey across the West Bank on the edge of the abyss

Journey across the West Bank on the edge of the abyss

Ben Gvir and others on the Israeli right have said they would like settlers to move into Gaza and rebuild it to expand Israel's borders. This is far-fetched. The government's official position is ambiguous, but it has indicated that it does not want to manage the region beyond its control enough to prevent terrorist attacks. The most plausible candidate for post-war Gaza administration, then, is the Palestinian Authority, an idea floated by the Biden administration but rejected by Netanyahu.

Of course, this scenario in Gaza would reproduce the dysfunctional arrangements in the West Bank, where Israeli forces do whatever they want anywhere, even in the 40 percent of the territory that the Palestinian Authority fully or partially controls.

Sitting in a tuber, In an upscale restaurant in Ramallah, Anwar al-Jayousi, 64, was staring at television images of Palestinians dying in Gaza. He is the CEO of Faten, a non-profit organization that provides financing to small entrepreneurs, especially women, and has lived an extraordinarily successful life in the West Bank. However, it rings hollow. “Sometimes you feel like your tears are dry,” he said. “No more tears. They have evaporated.”

In 1977, Al-Jayousi was imprisoned for raising the Palestinian flag in school. During the reform campaign of Salam Fayyad, the former prime minister who left office in 2013, he was threatened because he urged Palestinian workers to stop working in Israeli settlements. He added that in the 2014 war on Gaza, 35 entrepreneurs funded by the Faten Foundation were killed. He said: “We have tried passive resistance, armed struggle, and peaceful solution, and no one is listening.”

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Constant humiliation was a major theme in Jayyousi's life – seeing his family's well bombed when he was five, waiting seven hours to cross the Allenby Bridge into Jordan, and hearing Israeli officers tell him to “go back home to Ramallah” when he complained about his treatment in the hospital. The crossing into Gaza, and we are now witnessing the demolition of Faten’s offices in Gaza. He believed that what was most evident in all of this was the Israeli contempt for the oppressed. “Fear makes us brutal with each other,” he added. “We are the victims of the Holocaust.”